:: It all starts around the Thanksgiving time and, well, does not end until a few days after the New Year. Season parties, sometimes two a night, all the frenzy of gift-buying, sending the cards - be it by the snail mail or in their electronic version - while trying to manage our usual daily lives and duties. Our days have not enough of hours, our nutrition slacks and the first thing to "go" and not happen is your daily visit to the gym or your daily walk.
A recipe for physical and mental disaster.
Did you know that the stress hormones, which peak when we stress and also, as a result of sleepless nights, can contribute to the expanding waistlines? They have this sneaky way of working in a way that, in January, as a result, we wake up and notice this additional muffin top which was not there in November! Apart from the weight issue, stress contributes to heart disease, strokes, high blood pressure, back pains, migraines, headaches, cancer, diabetes and, generally, weakens our immune systems big time.
Time to get an upper hand over this mess!
First things first: Make sure you get 7-8 hours of the shut eye every single night. Don't drink coffee in the afternoon hours and try not to drink alcohol, as well - typically, when we drink, we feel relaxed and might fall asleep, but after that first cycle of sleep, lasting about 90 minutes, we will wake up and lie and toss from right to left, not being able to fall asleep again. This is a case of a secondary insomnia, triggered by our body's response to metabolizing the alcohol and its by-products. You might try some relaxation techniques before going to bed, or have a few drops of lavender essential oil diffused in your bedroom. Make sure the bedroom is quiet, quite cold (this promotes good sleep) and do not watch TV or use electronics for about one hour before your bed time: the light of the screen might cause you having trouble relaxing and fall asleep. Try meditation instead. Some 15 minutes just before your bed time should do the trick.
Second: Nurture yourself. I know, easy said, while in reality, you have to run from one party to another and simply cannot walk in there and. refuse to eat! Make sure you eat really well while things are in your hands, i.e. at your home or at work. Prepare lunch box for the office to minimize the damage. Before any party, drink two glasses of water or, even better, have a glass and a small healthy snack. This way, you won't be ravenous once arriving at the party. If it is not a buffet, but a seated affair, eat little, comment how you really, but really love the dish and ask the Hostess to give you some more to bring home with you - somehow, you are not too hungry now. It will make the Hosts happy that you like the dish and you will relax as you won't feel obliged to eat all that turkey.
Third: Prioritize, be it in terms of which party you go to, where you shop for the gifts, and also, in terms of keeping that daily appointment with yourself to exercise. It is your time and you deserve it and your body will thank you for it by being healthy and fit for years to come! You even might want to mark your walk or gym time in the calendar, just like any other "obligation" or appointment of the day, and stick to it.
Fourth: Smile! And smile often! Approach things from the positive point of view. See the good things about any situation you are in and try to minimize the negatives. Just this should make you more relaxed!
Good luck and have a great Holiday Season!